WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other members of military leadership announced they would be self-isolating because of their recent interaction with the Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Charles Ray, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“For months, the nation has grappled with the effects of COVID-19 as millions of Americans have contracted the virus and more than two hundred thousand have died. All the while, the Trump Administration has done very little to effectively alleviate the strain on our citizens, communities, and the economy. President Trump himself has downplayed the severity of the crisis while frequently contradicting qualified health officials, obfuscating the true nature and threat of the virus.

“Now, after publicly flouting the recommendations of his own medical experts and scientists, the President has contracted COVID-19. Since announcing that he tested positive for the virus, the President’s antics have been downright reckless and harmful. Thanks to diligent reporting, we know that many of the President’s senior staff have also tested positive, and as of today most of our senior military leaders are under quarantine.

“While our military can still operate while leadership is quarantined, the national security implications of the President’s recklessness cannot be overstated. Our adversaries are always looking for any weakness to exploit. President Trump’s pathetic attempts to exude strength aren’t fooling anyone – Americans know he is weak and so do those who wish us harm.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our nation. How can we ever recover if we can’t even count on our commander in chief to follow the most basic guidelines established by his own government? Instead of leading, President Trump continues to willfully jeopardize the safety and security of the American people and our military apparatus.”

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